As I waited in Chicago O’Hare International Airport for my flight to Cleveland to meet the rest of the Wake the Vote cohort on July 18, I began to reflect on my previous adventures with Wake the Vote during the primary season. From Iowa, to New Hampshire, to South Carolina, the cohort has experienced the intricacies of American politics first hand. We learned about democracy, the strategies behind campaigning, and civic engagement opportunities.
Now, approaching the Republican National Convention with Donald Trump as the Party’s nominee, I could not be more frustrated. How much more difficult will it be during this election cycle to get college students to register to vote? Will it be more difficult to engage in meaningful conversations with peers across the aisle? The divisive rhetoric from both the Republican and Democratic nominees is despicable. And the biggest problem I have with this election is the way that the media is covering the candidates. Constituents are TIRED of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s emails and the constant corruption occurring in Washington. Constituents are TIRED of hearing about how many times Trump has made a racist, sexist, or classist comment. We are TIRED. Constituents NEED to hear concrete policy prescriptions. We need to focus on national security, foreign policy, inequality, voting rights, jobs/economy, and immigration (just to name a few).
Working as an intern on Congressman Bob Dold’s re-election campaign in Grayslake, Illinois has opened my eyes to the vast number of Republicans who do NOT support Trump. I have great respect for Congressman Dold. If he doesn’t support Trump, how can I even begin to consider voting for Trump? Dold is doing a fantastic job of working across the aisle in Washington whether it comes to gun reform, LGBTQ rights, or small business/jobs. We desperately need more politicians like Bob Dold. We need to be thinking about the PEOPLE before POLITICS. Overall, pre-RNC, I am nervous about the path that the Republican Party is veering onto and I pray that constituents understand how extremely important local and state politics are even though the presidential election receives so much more hype.